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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

I?8                            THE GAY GENIUS

Su Tungpo, fell ill and died.  Before her death she "had said to the
Emperor: "I remember that when the Su brothers passed the examina-
tions, our ancestor Jentsung told members of the family that he was
greatly pleased, for he had that day discovered two future premiers for
his royal descendants. I hear now that Su Shih is on trial for writing l>
poems. It's the little fellows who want to destroy him. They couldfl^
find any fault with his official record, and now they try to convict him
on his poetry. Is not the charge rather trivial? I do not think I can re-
cover, but you must not condemn the innocent. It will anger the gods."
This practically amounted to her dying wish.

On the thirtieth of October the judges made a summary of the case,
which was submitted to the Emperor. On account of the funeral for
the Empress Dowager, the case hung fire for a long time. While Su,
Tungpo was waiting in jail for the outcome 'of the trial and the deter-
mination of his fate, something mysterious happened.

"One night after the completion of the trial," Su Tungpo told his
friends years later, "the night drum had been struck and just as I was
going to bed I suddenly saw a man come into my room. Without saying
a word, he threw a small box to the floor and, using it as his pillow, lay
down to sleep on the ground. Taking him for another prisoner, I let
him alone and fell asleep. About the time of the fourth watch [about
3 a.m.] I felt someone shaking me in my bed, and the man said to me:
'CongratulationsP I turned and asked him what this was all about.-
'Sleep well and don't worry,' said the man, and mysteriously left the
room with his little box.

"What happened was that when I was first impeached, Sudan -sn^
the others tried their best to persuade the Emperor to put me to death
But His Majesty had never intended to kill me, so he secretly sent a.
small palace servant to the prison to watch me. Soon after this little
fellow came, I fell asleep, snoring like thunder. He immediately rushed
back to report to His Majesty that I was sleeping very soundly and
peacefully, and His Majesty said to the courtiers: 1 know that Su
Shih's conscience is clear!' That was how later I was forgiven and sent
to Huangchow."

It was the usual custom to grant a general amnesty on the occasion of
an imperial funeral, and by law and custom Su Tungpo should
been pardoned. To tKe censors, who had hoped to involve the
opposition by this case, this would have meant that all the trouble
had taken had come to naught. Leeding and Sudan were greatly
worried. At this point, Leeding submitted a strong protest against any
possible pardon of the accused that might be under consideration.
Sudan went further and demanded that Szema Kuang, Fan Chen,
Chang Fangping, Li Chang, Sun Chueh, and five others of Su Tungpo's
friends be killed.